|Location: Märjamaa, Estonia|
|Local time: Sunday, 6pm|
- is green and flat in the summer; white and flat in the winter
- the highest point is a mere 318m above sea level; it is lovingly referred to as the 'big egg'
- is extremely traditional and sometimes rather old-fashioned, yet embraces new technologies faster than most other countries
- dedicates an entire shelf to various brands of vodka at the local small-town convenience store
- Tallinn is the city of the first Christmas tree in the world (1441)
- is about the size of Denmark with a fifth of the population; islands make up 10% of the land area, and there are over 1,400 lakes
- Ladas and BMWs
- bland mayonnaise, sloppy hamburgers, black bread and soapy cheese
- good yoghurt, cheap milk, and an astonishing variety of wonderful cured meats
- has the highest number of meteorite craters per land area in the world
- is extremely, and surprisingly, Internet-oriented
- is comprised of roughly 65% native Estonians
- can be incredibly good value for money (except for the capital city's center square, 'Raekojaplats' - tourist central!)
- is a singing nation (they'll say that this is how they won their freedom in 1991, yet there is much more to it than that!)
- the longest day of the year (Jaanipäev - a celebration of the pagan midsummer's night) is a great excuse to stand around a fire and drink beer!
- has a beach ranked number 9 in Europe (not bad when you consider this includes mediterranean countries like Italy, France, Spain etc)
- is a great launchpad for visiting northern Europe
- has one of the most difficult languages to learn (with 14 endings for each word and a seemingly random set of rules!). To the untrained ear it is almost identical to Finnish, but is closely related to Hungarian. Estonian is one of the smallest languages in the world to fulfill all the needs of a functioning society.
- will describe their country as 'south of Finland' or 'north of Latvia', but NEVER 'west of Russia'
- love their cellphones
- are okay with drinking beer at room temperature
- on the whole, not eager to display great joy or sadness - they are rather economical with their feelings
- are poorly paid (comparitively speaking)
- value the family very much (and all the families I have come to know are extremely warm and generous)
- will look twice at any black person (I have come across some racism here)
- give flowers for most occasions
- enjoy TV shows about singing
- are very white, and like to be blonde
- relish their short-lived summer (which can be as hot as places much further south)
- on the whole, consist of beautiful young women, but rather average young men
- mow their lawns religiously
- barbecue as much as possible
- love icecream, any time of year
- will demand you be naked when entering the sauna (a very traditional and social event, which often includes beer)
- are very strongly opinionated about Russia and its people
- jokingly describe their summer as 'shit weather for skiing'
- will use mayonnaise or sour cream ('hapukoor') as a base for practically every salad
- are rarely obese
- have a meat sandwich (using black bread) for breakfast
- cucumber is an important constituent of their diet
- can be cold to strangers
- potatoes potatoes potatoes!
- pork pork pork!
- call my country 'Uus Meremaa' ('new sea land')
It's been rather wet here lately.
My local gym. Really basic, but for NZ$13 (US$9) a month, who's complaining? The only problem is no music.
And since I'm almost always the only person there, in between sets I have nothing to do but sit and listen to the hum
of the overhead lights. Boooring.
Märjamaa is surrounded by wheatfields like this. I find them really quite picturesque.
Makes me want to just jump into it and frolick!
An abandoned, derelict, Russian Orthodox church down the road. Inside it looks like a bomb went off.
We managed to get a couple of days of blue skies this weekend, so I decided we should hit the beach.
Taking the car we drove an hour south-west to Pärnu beach.
The sand is really white and powdery-soft...
...but the water is brown and rather unappealing!
It's difficult to get a nice photo of the beach, since it's cluttered with so many objects, such as big trash bins
(better than it ending up in the sand I guess), changing stalls, and these strange see-saw thingees.
There were some cute girls in bikinis there,
but this one was the cutest!
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